The Fourth Generation
L'Esprit (Vespertilio Lahcen)
A Legacy of fear and darkness
Eighteen-year-old Lio Lahcen is of mixed Moroccan descent, dark-skinned and dark-eyed with wavy black hair in a shortish undercut. She’s built tall, broad in the shoulder and hips, with long muscular limbs. Her features are distinctive, pleasant in an androgynous kind of way. Freckles and numerous pale scars mark her skin.
She’s stylish, favoring a dark hard-femme look, and usually wears at least a winged eyeliner and warm lip tint. She constantly wears a black opal pendant tucked under her shirts; sometimes she wears a matched gold ring on her left ring finger, other times she hangs it on the same long chain.
As L’Esprit she wears a classic trenchcoat, hat, and gloves, with a patterned scarf to hide her face. The quality of her costume has improved recently, though the design hasn’t fundamentally changed.
In combat she makes liberal use of a stun baton and some self-defense. While she has a basic understanding of small arms and will use a gun with little hesitation, she’s made a decision not to actively carry anything more formidable than the stun gun — precisely because she’s so quick to use lethal force when it’s available.
When she overextends her powers, her eyes take on the appearance of the black opals — smooth black, but glittering from within with ever-changing sparks of red and blue and purple. So far she’s only done this once.
Abilities: Holmesian deduction, gadgetry (technopathy), intimidation,
fearsome reputation, athletic perfection
Her technopathy passively manifests as Electronic Sensory Disruption: electronics trying to focus on Lio experience glitches and corruption.
- Straight. Up. Creepin’. Roll Mundane to assess person or place. (Beacon)
- Won’t let you down. Spend 2 Team to add +2 to teammate’s roll. (Beacon)
- Suck it, Domitian. Roll Savior instead of Danger to engage a threat while under fire. (Beacon)
- Never give up, never surrender. Roll Savior instead of taking blows from opponents of greater power. (Legacy)
- Game Face. +1 ongoing to save someone or to defeat an enemy. (Janus)
- Before we get started. Roll Savior before battle to hold 1-3 against the opposition. (Soldier)
- Stand Up For Something. Roll Savior to force people to listen when she yells at them.
The Spectre’s legacy is an important part of Halcyon City. The members do not all carry the same name or abilities, but are generally focused on darkness, manipulation, and using the tactics of villainy in the pursuit of justice.
Spectre XI and Lady Night are still active and prominent in the city.
Senka Serero is retired and quite judgmental.
Twilight is the next possible member of the legacy.
The Golden Master is the greatest opponent we ever faced… and may not be dead after all.
- Backstory: Movers and Shakers
- Established Family
- What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?
Vanessa “Shield” Signet: There’s so much going on, and Vanessa needs to rebuild — she doesn’t need Lio’s stupid feelings on top of that. Lio’s just… going to be there for her, to try and help. Lio thinks she did the right thing with Cathy, at least.
All this talk about prom has her head in a whirl. Vanessa has a girlfriend already, doesn’t she? But were she and Kelsi even on speaking terms? More importantly, how soon should Vanessa be going back to school? Is prom even worth worrying about on top of everything?
Sarah “Calavera” Mendez: Best friend, confidant, sister. Lio doesn’t deserve Sarah, but she doesn’t know what she’d do without her, either. And everything plaguing her is so far out of Lio’s depth.
She’s apparently a dragon, now, though? Somehow? That’s… cool? Not so cool if it’s part of what’s killing her, but… well, it’s a dragon, that’s still pretty awesome.
Joey “Officer” Carron: She’s trying to be better for Joey. Trying being the operative word, and usually failing. She’s glad he’s bonded with Coffee, because not only is the latter a far better role model than her or Ugat or any of the adults around them, but Joey actually seems to listen to him. He’s doing so much better already, and yeah the jumpsuit is silly but it suits him so much more than the Ghost getup.
M/Michael/Mika “Ugat” Pena: Lio puts so much pressure on them, but it’s only because she trusts them — a lot more than herself, most of the time. They’ve always come through when it counted. She needs to talk to Sarah and Joey about trusting them again. (Yes, this whole dragon thing is incredibly worrisome, but they were honest about it and that counts for something, right?)
Robbie “Reflect” Rust: Aggravating as all hell sometimes, but ultimately a good guy and can be counted on in a pinch.
Pete Friendly continues to live up to his name and roll with whatever the universe throws at him. He does seem to be attracting more drama lately, though, and that’s starting to be a problem.
Thomas “Siphon” Alcott: Motherfucker, I went to bat for you.
Dio/Satin: One not-really-dead teammate was already more than Lio could handle. Once Vanessa was in front of her, Lio couldn’t really spare a thought for Dio. They barely knew each other even when he took her orders. She’s fairly certain that he did still die in this timeline, but… the circumstances were so confused, and he’s with Dr Cosmos now, and… still, she was responsible for him at one point and she let him down. He deserved better.
Miracle Woman: Still kind of an unknown quantity, but at the moment the most trustworthy adult superhero around. Which isn’t saying much. You couldn’t give a timetable, woman?
The Spectre (Original): He was a dick, but she’s glad she saved him. Sometimes she still thinks it’s the only thing she’s ever managed to do right. He was not ungrateful. Thanks, great-grandpa. If only you could see our family now — our family.
The Serero Family: Lio’s relationship with her family right now is… complicated. She’s not sure about this ‘Troika’ business. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? She’ll still move heaven and earth to protect them, and she still takes their orders almost without thinking. Family comes first. Family has always come first.
Lady Night: To be fair, Lio fucked up her stealth mission, so she had every right to be angry. Lio doesn’t blame her. Maybe she genuinely hates Lio, maybe not.
Ellie: Seems to hate Lio slightly less, but there’s still no warmth there. That’s alright. Lio will protect her anyway.
The New Exemplars: Just another bunch of kids, only this time with adult supervision. Shame the adult in question is an asshole. They don’t know any better. Do we? We can’t handle this whole city on our own, but neither can they. They seem to be more willing to work together now, and they have Miracle Woman vouching for them. Now if only they can be safely separated from Omega…
The Junior Guard: Lio was… distracted, but from what she gathered they seemed like an alright group. Coffee is a sweetheart and good for Joey. Quebecois was pretty stand-up, although if she ever runs into him again he’ll get an earful about his interrogation methods. And they took care of Vanessa. That counts for a lot.
Sasha Blaze was terrified of Lio, last they saw each other. Lio’s inclined to be a little sympathetic now and to try giving her another chance and talking out the problem, but Lio’s not going to let her keep hurting Sarah. Sasha may have legitimate grievances but that doesn’t make her response okay.
Blue Hydra: Lio always had hopes of getting somewhere with Blue Hydra. That… may no longer be possible, but they should still try, right?
Dr Infinity is a reluctant ally, for at least as long as this Hydra shit is going on.
Dr Cosmos and Omega are dead men walking. Cosmos, especially, has used up more than his fair share of goodwill and second chances. It’s not just that they’re hurting people — it’s that everyone is still convinced that they’re good guys. They are still convinced they’re good guys. And they’re leading others by their example. That makes them far more dangerous than the likes of Infinity or Hydra.
But just killing them won’t solve it. If they can be discredited, cut down, their influence reduced to nil, made pariahs rather than martyrs… but is that even possible? Or is the only option to minimize the damage now? Lio wants to believe it can be done, but in the heat of the moment, she’s tried to kill both of them — and she knows she would try again.
Backstory: Movers and Shakers
Like any kid, Lio dreamed once in awhile of being a superhero, but it was never a serious consideration.
In another world, Vespertilio Lahcen was a normal kid born and raised in rural Michigan, facing death too young and never wholly coming to terms with it. She moved to Halcyon at 16 to care for one of her last remaining relatives. Two years later, when cleaning out her late aunt’s home, Lio discovered a hidden safe full of files from her vigilante great-grandfather, and her life changed. She donned a uniform and dubbed herself L’Esprit, and she sought out wrongs to right.
That world’s gone now, and selfish as it is, Lio wouldn’t go back to it for anything.
Seventy-eight years ago, with war heating up in Europe, millionaire Marlowe Maskelyne and three friends went up in his personal plane. The craft went down, killing all four passengers and burning their bodies beyond identification. Officials ruled it as mechanical failure. They were not present to see lurkers emerge and check the wreckage, taking only an opal ring from one of the bodies. The ring was delivered to a hidden room in Halcyon City, to the Golden Master, who laughed and began the next phase of her plans.
Maskelyne’s fortune was willed to the adopted daughter of the friends who had died with him. Claimed by other relatives, the child quickly fell off the radar. Even The Golden Master was unable to track her. Frustratingly, the death of her greatest enemy did not seem to make her world domination bid any easier, either.
Seventy-nine years ago, Lio told The Spectre everything she knew from the two timelines she had experienced. He was prepared.
The Spectre removed his loved ones — not only his two partners and (eventually) three children, but his friend Maskelyne and a number of identity-compromised agents — from danger, but they never stopped their work. In addition to overseas work during the war, and continual quiet sabotage of The Golden Master’s efforts, they also dealt with other miscarriages of justice and prepared for future threats.
By the time the Golden Master was (theoretically) finally defeated in 1973, the family had extended its influence deep into Halcyon’s inner workings. Certain family members took up traditional heroic mantles, especially those with superpowers. Others infiltrated particular industries or social circles, political movements and crime syndicates. Still others worked as Spymasters, curating their information and seeing it got to where it needed to be. All had a place, depending on their skills. All were supported by the family network, which had somewhere along the way gained a name: The Troika.
It was into that environment that this Vespertilio Lahcen was born. An extensive family with love, support, and resources to spare, but one with powerful expectations and dangerous secrets.
In this world, Lio always knew that she was going to be a hero, in some form. She’s been training for it her whole life.
Becoming L’Esprit was a minor act of rebellion. Sick of training and drills, Lio set out to deal with crime firsthand. Her family pretended not to notice her attempted double-life — as long as she kept her grades up and didn’t cause too much damage, it was good practice. Teenagers gotta rebel.
She still became friends with Sarah and tries her best to protect her. She still met Joey and gave him a place to stay with her perfectly normal, everyday civilian family.
She still formed the Corps, and still accidentally got Dio killed. Her family stepped in, then, and she hasn’t operated outside of Troika influence since.
She still joined with the Delinquents, but at Troika urging, to keep an eye on this upstart youth group that the Exemplars were showing such an interest in. They don’t know that she’s here basically as a spy, and this version of Lio would never have told them.
She still sincerely believes in justice, in helping innocents, righting wrongs, and fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, and believes that her family’s methods are the best way.
She still participated in the sabotage of Frankie’s wedding — but she was killed in the destruction of the Dreadnought. Her family held a funeral and recovered her necklace.
And now, she’s back.
Lio’s family is extensive. Here’s a brief look at the established ones.
The Spectre (Elazar Serero), David Jasper Serero, and Evelyn Rose Serero: Great-grandparents. Probably dead by now. Probably.
Adelaide “Ada” Lahcen: The eldest of The Spectre’s three children, and Lio’s grandmother. Ran the Troika for most of her life, mostly in a managerial position but occasionally in the field in her younger days. Nearly ninety, retired, but still respected as the matriarch. Always seemed to favor Lio and have high expectations for her, despite her being relatively unremarkable. There was quite a stir when Ada gifted Lio their family heirloom.
Erik and Johannes Serero: The Spectre’s sons. The Sereros fostered a number of children smuggled out of Nazi Germany, Erik and Johannes were the two that remained with them.
Senka Serero: Current leader of the Troika, Ada’s first child by her first husband.
Nasir Serero: Senka’s son, current Spectre.
Lavinia Meunier: Erik’s daughter. Dealing with early-onset dementia, but the family’s connections ensure her the best possible care.
Marcus Meunier: Lavinia’s only child. Mid-twenties.
Isaiah “Ike” Lahcen: Lio’s dad, Ada’s youngest child by her second husband.
Dawn Lahcen: Lio’s mom. Animal behaviorist and bat specialist
Pipistrelle ‘Ellie’ Lahcen: Lio’s little sister.
Lady Night: Most likely one of Johannes’ descendants, making her a second cousin like Marcus.
What the heck kind of name is ‘Vespertilio’?
It’s the scientific name of a genus of bat. So is Pipistrelle. Look, their mom works in a bat sanctuary and has a thing for Latin. They were always just thankful they didn’t wind up ‘Pteralopex’ or ‘Rhogeessa’. Or ‘Mormoops’.